CALGARY -- A community hub in East Village is ready to welcome community members inside, but the doors will remain closed until public health orders permit a safe reopening.

Village Commons, located at 610 Eighth Avenue S.E. in the former site of the Golden Age Club, will soon offer a state-of-the-art community kitchen, studio space for art and fitness classes, and a family counselling centre.

Design and construction of the hub took just shy of a year and the initiative is the result of a partnership between the Calgary Housing Company (CHC), Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) and carya.  

CHC purchased the property, which includes East Village Place in 2016, in order to preserve more than 160 affordable homes in the building. The following year, carya — a social profit agency —was brought on board to oversee the hub's community programs and CMLC later joined to lead the construction as project manger.

"East Village is the place where Calgary's future continues to unfold and we see that with opening of Village Commons which invites current residents and supports the evolving needs of the neighborhood," said Kate Thompson, CMLC president and CEO, in a statement.

"Our vision for Village Commons has always been a space where all Calgarians can come together and feel like they belong," added Theresa Watson, CEO of carya. "While we can't gather in this space just yet, we are thrilled it is now complete and ready for us to come together when it is safe to do so."

A grand opening event is scheduled to be held later this year should public health and safety orders permit. In the meantime, carya is in the midst of moving into the hub and will soon offer virtual programs generated from the space.

Once it opens to the public, the Village Commons Community Kitchen is expected to host cooking classes for all ages and will be available to rent for private parties.